You’d think everything would have calmed down now that the cycle tour season is over, but things are still pretty busy in the Chain Gang office. We’re sprucing up the website and getting new cycle tour brochures printed for 2008. This means collating an enormous amount of information and images, finding more efficient ways to deal with admin, and all the while, starting to confirm (already) the first few cycling holidays for next year.
One of our most important jobs is almost done – that of booking hotels for all our 2008 bike tours. This sounds easier than it is, mostly because many hotels in France and Italy go into deep hibernation over the winter months, so our emails and phone calls just disappear into the ether.
Those that do respond are clearly bored and looking for some sport. (There can’t be that much worth watching on French telly, so I reckon this is how they get their kicks!) You are obliged to duck and dive like a prize fighter from Deptford as you try to fathom the mysteries of the French hotel booking system. The exchange goes something like this . . .
- Me: Salutations Monsieur, I’d like to book these rooms for this date please
- Hotel: Yes, we have those rooms available
- Me: Formidable! I’d like to book them please
- Hotel: Is Madam sure?
- Me: Positive.
- Hotel: Well, just let us know when you decide you want them and in the meantime we’ll keep them on option.
- Me: I want them now, please.
- Hotel: Now?
- Me: Yes. I want to book them now – for next June.
- Hotel: I am ravished to tell you that our charming rooms will be available in June.
- Me: Marvellous. So are they reserved for us?
- Hotel: Not until you confirm back to us.
- Me: This is me confirming back to you.
- Hotel: Now?
- Me: Yes.
- Hotel: Well then we need your credit card number to confirm your confirmation.
- Me: Right now I’d give you my house and all my possessions if I thought it would help, sunshine.
We love them really, and when we finally get there, they’re ever so charming and hospitable. Which is why we keep going back for more.
We will be featuring pictures and links to many of these delightful establishments on our website, so look out for them.